View Full Version : CO 89 21 Jan EWR-PEK, CZ 6106 22 Jan, PEK-SHE

Art at ISP
2008-01-23, 05:42 AM
I woke up real early on Monday, knowing I had to drive to EWR for my flight to China. I had breakfast with the wife (kid slept in), and left around 8:30AM. What I forgot was that it was a holiday, and there was NO traffic. I made it to EWR in about 1 hour 35 minutes, which was great.

Proceeded to international Business First checkin-only 3 people on the line. Tried on line check in but because they have to see a Visa on the passport for China, you can only check in manually.

Boarding pass in hand, through security and off to the President's Club for some coffee and a snack (bagel). I left about 20 min before scheduled boarding and changed some money-which was a good idea since I needed to take a cab once I got to Shenyang. I proceeded to the gate, which was getting a little crowded. They made an announcement that they needed to double check documents at the gate prior to boarding so I gave my passport with the visa and boarding pass for inspection and got the "docs ok" mark on the BP.

Right on schedule they started loading up the wheel chair passengers, then called business first. We entered the 777 through the 2L door, so it was a left turn to seat 2K, my home for the next 14 hours or so. I got my bags stowed, took out the ipod and the Bose QC3's and started to get settled. The FA came around offering beverages, followed by newspapers. Finally my seatmate arrived, we exchanged pleasantries as he got settled.

By that time, while the FA came around again with the amenity kits and menus ( this would be a 3 meal flight, the first served in about 4 courses!), a concierge came around and introduced herself to most of the business first customers-addressed everyone by name, thanked us for flying with them and asked if we had any questions or needed anything. I asked about connecting and she told me there would be a concierge to meet the flight in PEK. Just after that, the Flight Service Manager came around and introduced herself to everyone by name as well. Right away you knew this was going to be a good flight.

We pushed right on schedule, and taxied out to 22R. We started the takeoff roll about 15 minutes later, and I was surprised how quickly a 77 full of people bags and fuel got off the ground-we were airborne between terminals A and B. We climbed out on the standard departure, making a left turn followed by a sweeping right turn about 270 degrees around, heading toward MERIT, the first departure fix. My seatmate, who was from Houston, got the full view of NYC in her glory as we climbed out in the turn, crossing overhead EWR and then LGA.

Just past LGA, we passed 10000 feet, and the FA's were up and about taking the lunch/dinner orders. I chose steak, which was preceded by an appetizer, fresh garlic bread, and a salad with choice of dressing. The steak was a little over done, but then again, it wasn't Pace's... main course followed by a fruit plate with cheeses, THEN by the famous ice cream sundae. This was followed about 6 hr later by a mid flight meal, consisting of soup and bread, followed by a prearrival meal an hour or so before landing--for which I chose the omelette.

The flight path basically crossed just northwest of BOS, then turned due north over Canada, and Greenland, right over the North Pole, Siberia and into China. The initial cruise altitude was 350, which I thought was high for a fully loaded aircraft. Oddly enough we actually descended to 320 for a while, then made our way up to 370 eventually. Interestingly enough, we descended to FL365 after a while then climbed to FL 395, which was the final cruising altitude. I don't get the 500 foot increments, as the metric altitudes weren't even either. I assume Russian ATC had something to do with it.

After a pleasant 12 hours and 43 minutes in the air, we arrived in PEK. No concierge as promised earlier, but I followed signs to immigration an customs, passed through and was greeted by a young kid offering to take my bags to CZ check in which is in a different terminal. After checking in, I was invited to the CZ VIP lounge (I guess CO Platinum did that), and waited about an hour. I then proceeded to the gate, where it was M A Y H E M. The inbound was late, and all the announcements were in Chinese, so I had no clue what was up. The plane finally arrived, and after what seemed like half of humanity got off, we boarded-no rhyme or reason, just the order you were in line.

China Southern operates this flight with a 321 - I had a bulkhead seat and let me tell you--this plane was fuller than full. The lady in the middle seat next to me had no room in the overhead for her bags, so they just let her keep them in front of her on the floor...that would never happen in the US. Finally, off the gate, 20 minute taxi to the runway on the OTHER side, and off to SHE.

This was a 45 minute flight--but had a snack AND full beverage service...which was pretty amazing--hey US did you hear that?

We landed in Shenyang, and after deplaning, I went through baggage claim and tried to find a taxi. Found one, tried to explain to the driver where I was going (Sheraton), and just prayed he got me there in one piece--which was doubtful since we almost got into about 5 accidents. Of course I wondered if he really knew where he was going, but it turned out he did, and after a 20 minute ride I got to the hotel. It was about 7:30 at night here, which was 6:30 AM Tuesday in NY. It was VERY interesting to fly a domestic Chinese airline--after an amazing business/first experience, it was different, but I got here. Let's see what happens on the way back Friday.

She Shen (thank you) and best regards from Shenyang.

2008-01-23, 12:43 PM
Very interesting report Art! - great reading and it's nice to hear about experiences in other parts of the world - when we go to SA next month - I'll be able to do reports on PBI-ATL (Delta), ATL-DKR-JNB (Delta), FALA-FAPE (Lanseria - Port Elizabeth) on Kulula, Cape Town - Johannesburg (1Time) and the return JNB-DKR-ATL and ATL-PBI routes on Delta.

2008-01-23, 01:12 PM
Wow! Nice trip report! I enjoyed it greatly.

2008-01-23, 03:43 PM
Great trip report Art, very entertaining!

2008-01-23, 04:59 PM
Excellent. It sounds like CO treats its Business First Pax very well!

2008-01-24, 12:23 PM
Art: nice report. Glad you enjoyed the CZ service. Are you only going to Shenyang or there are other destinations you will cover; and if you don't mind -- out of all the places to visit in China, why Shenyang?

Art at ISP
2008-01-24, 02:35 PM
Thanks for the nice comments folks. Unfortunately, I am only visiting Shenyang, as I am here on business. I had 2 days of meetings and just woke myself up early to try to reset my body clock--I will definitely sleep on the plane later today (it's 2:30AM here in China right now). I hope to spend more time in Beijing next trip--and possibly Shanghai.

I'll post my return trip report once I am concscious on Saturday.

hiss srq
2008-01-24, 04:55 PM
Wonderful trip report Art. Very detailed and enjoyable. My dad did his first business trip to China earlier this year and he flew Air China over. He will not return to say the least. Next time my uncle does that trip. lol

Art at ISP
2008-01-26, 03:26 PM
As I am preparing the trip report for the return, does anyone know where I can get the flight plan from CO88 yesterday PEK-EWR? None of the trackers I know of have it.